(Yicai Global) Aug. 9 -- China has ended a multi-year streak of growing wine trade as such imports tumbled along with the number of importers in the first half of this year due to overheating and macroeconomic factors, causing wine professionals to reconsider their approach.
China's bottled wine imports decreased by 2 percent during the six months, according to data from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products.
During the first five months, the value of imported wine fell 21 percent from the previous year to USD920 million and after that, rebounded slightly in June. The number of importers fell by 35 percent to nearly 4,200 firms in the first five months.
Last year, China's wine imports rose 1.1 percent from the previous year to USD3.5 billion with 720 million liters of the alcoholic beverage shipped into the country. In 2017, the pace of growth was 18 percent, according to customs data. The three years ended 2017 were the golden years of growth as the number of importers rose by 42 percent to 5,900, the CFNA added.
The threshold was very low to enter the booming sector, which caused overheating, so the current bottleneck will allow wine professionals to rethink their strategies, Wang Zuming, deputy secretary-general of the China National Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation, told Yicai Global. Macroeconomic factors were also present in cooling down the hype, he added.
However, the Chinese wine market has huge potential and the slowdown will make the sector more mature, Wang said, adding that China's CNY80 billion (USD11.4 billion) wine market is still very small in comparison to the liquor sector worth CNY530 billion.
Editor: Emmi Laine